León to Villadangos Del Paramo
“In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm……in the real world all rests on perseverance.”
I suppose that today’s walk is one of those sections that causes some Camino critics to jump up and down flapping their arms claiming it’s overrated and undeserving of its lofty status. Admittedly this was probably the least attractive of all the stages so far, with much of our time spent beside the main road. The villages we passed through on the outskirts of Leon for the most part appeared a bit down on their luck, containing little of interest, with boarded up shop fronts and new buildings which have never been completed, left to the attentions of vandals.
It wasn’t pretty, but on a journey of almost 500 miles I think it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to deviate from the scenes of pastoral beauty and get a look at the other side of the tracks. To be fair, as we walked through the small town of Virgen Del Camino we came across the Real Aero Club de Leon, a very plush looking sports facility with a link of some sort to Leon Airport, which is close by. It also had a church with a very striking modern facade and an impressively tall cross beside it. This was the nicest part of our travels today, outwith the city itself of course.
As we left Leon this morning we walked through the Plaza de San Marcos which contains the famous “Peregrino” statue and the stunning building that was at one time a monastery dedicated to St. Mark. I’m beginning to sound like a tour guide here; suffice to say it was yet another spectacular example of the city’s architectural riches.
Another thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that in a large number of bars in the Barrio Humedo area of the city you get a free bit of tapas with every drink ordered. You can get a “corto” of beer (I’d never come across this before) which is smaller than a “cana “ (approximately half the size of a “tanque”, or cerveza grande. We were advised by a lady in the know to keep moving from bar to bar, order a corto at each one and fill your face with food! And it’s absolutely true : order two drinks of any kind, get two tapas, order three…..and so on. We didn’t overdo it, but the tapas was delicious. It was a Saturday afternoon and the whole place was buzzing. Spanish cities always seem to be alive with people eating, drinking and chatting; it’s exciting just being in amongst it all. Of course the weather must be a huge factor in setting the tone for this convivial atmosphere, and the surroundings are beautiful. We both agreed that it would be great to return for a long weekend. Not sure how easy it is to access via flights from Scotland, however.
Sunday in Villadangos Del Paramo is a somewhat different proposition from Leon. It appears to have two bars (I could be doing the place a disservice here – there may be some underground club I’ve missed) and our hotel. And a shop. Like I said, it’s Sunday. Perhaps tomorrow after we leave it’ll explode into life. Next stop is the city of Astorga, which is apparently well worth seeing, so looking forward to getting there, but it’s a long one: 28km. Early start for us!
Today’s album track is “Dancing In The Moonlight (It’s Caught Me In Its Spotlight) by alt-J, a very mellow version of the Thin Lizzy original. Its sleepy air seems entirely appropriate for our present location ( Thankyou Natty! x ).
Astorga Awaits ! 🌟🔜🌟